Every Policy Affects Real People

This excerpt is important, but read the entire post at The Crossed Pond:

… I was the face of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for many a sailor, and I kicked out my first queer in 1990. Nothing earth shattering, no complex investigation or lawyerly maneuvering, just a young guy quietly living with a lover, even known about by many of the crew, until the wrong dude found out and reported it. A few questions asked, an admission made, and he was gone.

The next one was more disturbing. He was a hard working deck hand, a book worm, a loner, and a fundamentalist Christian. He made the mistake of leaving a moderately erotic drawing of a partially nude male on his rack in his assigned group berthing compartment. Someone took it, reported it, officers questioned him, and then we kicked him out. But along the way, I learned about self loathing. This young man believed he was demon-haunted and devil-tempted. He could resist these urges so long as we stayed in our home port, where he could attend nightly services at his small church, and pray for strength with the handful of other worshippers. But when we left home port, spending weeks at sea where he had no access to his support group, he grew weak, and would seek anonymous sex in the usual hang outs at the first port call. He hated himself. He comes to mind often; I wonder if he ever came to terms with his sexuality, if he still exists in his self imposed purgatory, or if he killed himself. My questions and doubts grew.

‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was wrong in 1993. It is wrong today. It should be repealed immediately. Every competent individual willing to serve should be able to serve openly, with his or her character measured only by conduct applicable to job performance. The politician’s who have enabled this policy – and continue to enable it – should be reminded that they are on the wrong side of decency and history with their cowardly, unconscionable refusal to correct this mistake.

Link via Positive Liberty.